Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Becoming a Trail Horse


At my last lesson yesterday, my instructor and I went off into the woods with Leah to practice going up and down hills.  We had been working on this thing I do with the reins--basically, "opening doors", although the doors became very small.  It amounts to a slight bend of the wrist for the left door, walk, walk, slight bend of the wrist for the right door, walk, walk.  That constant "opening doors" helps Leah keep her mind on the walk. Buck Brannaman calls it the "Triangle of Support".   You're just letting your horse know they're not alone.

My instructor worked with us until we had that down and then said, let's go.

Leah helped me open and close the arena gate, went over the bridge, and off to the woods.

In the woods, she got really nervous going downhill, but my instructor had me work on swinging my hips more so that she would know to loosen hers up.  It worked great.

Today, (pic above), a friend went out with us on the trail.  I warned her ahead of time that it would be a training day, but she was happy to go.  She has a steady Eddy horse.  We went up and down some steep hills, past some scary objects, met a few people along the way (one with a weed whacker) and Leah did GREAT.  She led out the whole way and had a very fast, but comfortable walk.

At the end of the ride, we went through the trail challenge.  Leah did many of the challenges very well, but she didn't like the bridge at the park. (I was surprised since she's so confident at the one at the barn.)

After our trail ride, when she was really tired and starting to get trippy, I unsaddled her and walked her back to the bridge to get a more positive experience from the ground.  My friend was leaving the park with her horse and trailer, but she stopped and took the photo above.

I could not have been more pleased with our first time out this year.  It was so much fun. I'm looking forward to many more.

16 comments:

  1. Leah is big and muscular. I'm glad everything went so well. I'll have to try swinging my hips.

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    1. She's a little too big right now. I should put her on a diet, but I hate to take her off pasture. Maybe the exercise will slim her down.

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  2. Sounds like a great training ride. Leah is beautiful :-)

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    1. Ah, thanks. I need to slim her down, but she is a pretty girl.

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  3. Swinging your hips- sounds like a dance move, like all riding should be :0)
    You are sure building a nice solid foundation with your mare.

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    1. Ha, yes! You've got loosen up those hips and get the rhythm. A lot like dancing.

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  4. Hey- would you be interested in going in a Cowboy Dressage Clinic at Jenni Grimmett's place in Sagle, October 8-9? I'm entered.

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    1. I have kids flying in for that week and we're renting a lake cabin for a reunion. It sounds like fun though!

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  5. The lesson and trail ride sound awesome! Leah is a pretty girl and a little chunky is good. I'm sure all of us could stand to take a little off but who cares;)

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    1. Yeah, I agree. I purchased another Fitbit ONE to get myself back in shape. LOL. Leah is in a stall for now & she got some new shoes today. Yay!

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  6. Oh, I'm so happy that your trail ride went so well. And Miss Leah is a beautiful girl - not fat, healthy!! Says one easy-keeper to another...

    I need to check out that "triangle of support", have never heard Buck speak of it before. Sounds interesting! Have fun at your mountain cabin...we are leaving for our first camp out and trail rides with Eagle tomorrow morning bright and early. I am soooo excited!!! Wish me luck? Maybe I will swing my hips too...

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. His "triangle of support" is seat, bit, and legs. Letting them know you're there by supporting them in that "triangle". I have the seat and legs part, the slight back and forth on the bit gives her that other part.

      Have fun on your trip and, by all means, swing those hips!

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  7. You are doing such a nice job with her. What a great day.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.